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Dynamic controlled atmosphere storage for non-chemical maintenance of apple quality


The goal of this project is to develop the foundation for the safe adoption of a new storage technology known as dynamic controlled atmosphere (DCA) for Northeastern-grown organic apple fruit. DCA technology is used extensively in Europe, but to a very limited extent in the USA; some DCA storage of organic fruit exist in Washington State but there are none in the Northeast mostly because of lack of confidence of growers and storage operators in this new technology. To address this goal we have two objectives. The first objectiveis to develop application of DCA storage technology to address long term storage needs of Northeastern organic growers by defining the tolerances to low O2 of selected cultivars by providing confidence in the technology by the organic apple industry.The second objectiveis to translate research based information to the grower and storage operator community using a variety of extension methodologies - written (print and digital), formal extension programs such as workshops that are designed to measure impact, interaction with non-traditional audiences, and one-on-one discussion with storage operators and cooperative members.Although it is not a formal outcome within the context of the Organic Transitions program, we also have a further objective that Northeastern conventional growers and storage operators can eliminate all postharvest chemical usage. Northeastern growers are well aware of the increasing need to address consumer demands for organic fruit, but also they are concerned about the long term future of postharvest chemicalregistration, and recognize that postharvest drenching represents a food safety hazard.

Watkins, Christopher
Cornell University
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